Mario Testino

“My pictures are my eyes,” Mario Testino once said. “I photograph what I see—and what I want to see.”

Through these eyes, the world is a place of vitality; gazing into them, his subjects are drawn to give up something of the essence of themselves. Over the past two decades, Testino’s view has slowly become a dominant way of seeing fashion. Other photographers have responded by “either aping it or rejecting it,” as his old friend, the Anglo-Irish author Patrick Kinmonth, wrote.

bioAccording to Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, Testino can make you look better than you could hope—”not in your wildest dreams, but at the remotest end of possibility.” Setting himself apart from the leading photographers of the nineties—who brought us heroin chic and the glazed-eyed, detached stare—he captures moments of exuberance and engagement. As he told The Guardian,“Grunge came from a group of English photographers, and they were documenting their own reality. . . . I’m South American—we celebrate life.”

Testino began his photography career after moving to London in 1976. He made a few unsuccessful attempts at college—studying law, economics, and international relations—before going to work for Vickers for a couple of years. He was inspired not so much by a love of photography but by a love of clothes. However, with his first roll of film, taken of two women sitting on a bench in Green Park, he discovered a belief in his own gift.

The fashion industry, on the other hand, wasn’t as quick to recognize his talents. He spent many days sitting in his flat—in a converted X-ray wing of the abandoned Charing Cross Hospital—desperately dialing magazines from his coin-box telephone. “But when you phone fashion editors or art directors,” he told The Mail on Sunday in 1999, “they always say: ‘Call me back in a month, I’m about to go on a trip. . . . I think I learned humility then.”[11] Humility, though, did not stop Testino from chasing editors through the corridors of Vogue House in Hanover Square while they attempted to hide behind clothing rails. (He managed to forge a friendship with one assistant, Lucinda Chambers, who would later become the publication’s fashion director.

Read the Full Article

Source: Bio –  +

It was really hard not too showcase a few hundred images here, but here are some of my favs.





















Ansel Adams’ former assistant talks about working with the master

Looking at Ansel Adams: The Photographs and the Man

Few photographers have had more impact on America than Ansel Adams, and we are very excited to be able to celebrate his birthday with his former assistant, Andrea Stillman. Andrea’s talk will be an intimate look at the photographer and the man. Said an attendee at one of her museum lectures, “You made Ansel come to life for all of us.”

Here is what Andrea has to say about working with Ansel: “I first met Ansel in 1972 when he came to New York to discuss an exhibition of his photographs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where I worked. I was immediately impressed by his open friendly demeanor, his sense of humor and his modesty. We worked together for two years on his retrospective, and after it opened in the spring of 1974 he asked me to move to Carmel and become his assistant. I leapt at the chance, and for the next six years I worked for Ansel in his home studio. He always had a photographic assistant to help in the darkroom, so I did everything else. This included managing the sale of hundreds of his photographs – everything from telling Ansel which negative to print to approving the final mounted photograph and writing the title on the back. I also edited his writing and lectures and worked with him on innumerable books of his photographs — selecting the images, assisting with the production, and working on press to assure the best reproductions. I also accompanied him on many trips to open exhibitions and promote new books. One of my last tasks was to organize his extensive archive. It included an enormous correspondence with artists like Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Edward Weston and hundreds of his photographs made over more than fifty years–ranging from a unique 3 1⁄4×4 1⁄4inch contact print of lodgepole pines in the High Sierra made when he was nineteen years old to an enormous 40 x 60 inch mural size print of Mount McKinley made in the 1960s. In addition I produced a one-hour documentary on his life for public television.”

Andrea G. Stillman’s Site


Walt Disney – Dream Big

Walt Disney is a legend; a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideals which his name represents: imagination, optimism, creation, and self-made success in the American tradition. Walt Disney’s dream of a clean, and organized amusement park, came true, as Disneyland Park opened in 1955. What a feeling that must have been.

If you can dream it, you can do it.
– Walt Disney



















Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout

Last week I was introduced to this camera test by a friend. It shows you, its not about the machine.

We’ve got a lot to prove in Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012. Some of it will surprise you, some of it will shock you, and some of it will change the way you work forever. Let’s make this clear: This is not the shootout you’re expecting.

Will you see the empirical testing where we set the lighting, keep it constant, and run all the cameras through so pixel pushers are happy knowing they’ve made the right purchase? Sure. What’s new and different is that we’re going to show you what you can do with each of these cameras on the same set by letting expert DPs who’ve mastered these cameras get creative with them. They’ve figured out the best profiles, they know how to light for their camera while keeping color timing in mind. This shootout is about two things- what a camera is capable of and what a DP can do with his abilities to make it look great with all of his skills, experience and talent. The key element here is talent. There are no winners as with all of our tests, since winning is dependent on your abilities.

This 90 minute documentary will be presented in three parts that will air on the 15th of June, July, and August. It’s critical you watch all three episodes to fully understand the total message. Each segment will feature three of the nine camera masters describing their approach to the creative shot. The three parts are interwoven and each will feature new guests imparting their knowledge and wisdom for you to learn from. Stop, listen and learn, it’s not all about the cameras! I hope you enjoy this passion project we call Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout.






Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 – Part One: Starting With Darkness from Zacuto on Vimeo.

Continue reading Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout

Spike Jonze – The Early Years

Spike Jonze has directed enough Hollywood movies to be considered a seasoned vet. In addition to memorable films like Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are, Jonze has directed videos by some of the’90s most prolific bands: The Breeders, Weezer and The Beastie Boys to name a few. In the skateboarding world, his videos are legendary. Hands down his work here has dominated, he’s constantly pushing the envelope with the ideas he puts forth in his videos. While not as widely known as his film work – his photography is where he got his start, and where he also pushed the envelope with creativity.

Spike Jonze grew up in Maryland, pursuing his love for BMX, (and eventually skateboarding) which in turn lead to photography. After touring around with the Haro BMX team through the US, Spike’s photography skills caught the attention of Freestylin’ Magazine in California. During his tenure at Freestylin’, Spike was one of the main photographers, he went on to contribute to Club Homeboy Magazine and later Dirt, TransWorld Skateboarding and Grand Royal Magazine.

In BMX and skateboarding, Spike introduced new angles and processes. He relied heavily on his fisheye, shot both black and white and color, and also toyed around a lot with photocopying and hand coloring of slides. His photography always took on an extra level – like he was trying to create the graphics and art that would accompany an editorial layout onto the film within his camera.

The photography of Spike Jonze has captured some of the pivotal moments in BMX, skateboarding and indie music of the late ‘80s to mid-nineties. His eye for uniqueness and composition catapulted him to videographer. Through video and photography, he is truly one of the great image creators of my generation.














J. Grant Brittain – Documenting a culture

I was trying to find a way to introduce this post, and I found this quote from DLSR Mag. (Source)

I’ve been skateboarding since I was 8, and Grant’s photos were amongst the first I’d ever seen. They changed my life forever. I think that no other person managed to capture the awesomeness that surrounded skateboarding at that time, the beginning of a culture. We will never again feel what they felt, or recreate it today. Grant Brittain wasn’t just another skateboard photographer, for me he represents a time, a lifestyle, pointing me in the direction of what I’m doing now, so you could say that he influenced my life choices. That’s what I’m always looking for in an artist: that he doesn’t just create stuff, but that he sticks with his time, becoming a witness, a catalyst, in order to influence another generation. Grant is all this and more.

Photographer J. Grant Brittain holds one of his  photographs of local skateboarder Chris Miller at the Action Sports Retail show at the San Diego Convention Center on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. Brittain and Miller were signing to posters with the proceeds gAbout Grant:

Grant Brittain picked up a camera at the ripe old age of 25 and started shooting his friends skateboarding at the Del Mar Skate Ranch. The “Ranch” was a skatepark in a small beach town north of San Diego, California that he managed in the early 1980s, and it was there that he honed his photographic skills. After blowing massive amounts of film, he took every photo class Palomar Junior College had to offer. And with that, he felt he finally learned how to manipulate his 35mm camera.

While at college, an influential instructor introduced Brittain to the vast world of photography, and set him on his creative path. In 1983, Grant was asked to contribute skate photos to the premiere issue of TransWorld SKATEboarding magazine and became its founding Photo Editor and Senior Photographer.

Over the past twenty years, Brittain has helped TransWorld grow into the most popular skate mag in the world, and has captured the best skateboarders of the last two decades in photos that have become classics. He has also taught some of the best skate photographers, past and present, and helped them develop their own work. He hopes that they have gotten as much inspiration from him as he gets from them.

Over the years Brittain’s personal work-abstracts, portraits, landscapes and travel images-seems to draw from the opposite energy of his action images. His “off hours” are consumed by a search for calmer and more serene subjects. Still lakes at night and solitary desert forms are among the subjects of his diverse personal work. Some of his portraits of well-known athletes even manage to divulge a more reflective side of their personalities.

Few photographers have pursued so wide a range of subjects and styles. But few individuals find themselves so central to such an active community, where one’s perspective is just a notch askew of the rest, and where movement and progression is the norm.

Grant Brittain’s body of work reflects his deep involvement in an emerging youth culture, as well as his escape from it. Grant and a group of the skateboarding elite talent have left TWS and started The Skateboard Mag, check it at: and at shops and newsstands

— Miki Vuckovich (via


You can also purchase his prints over here:



All photos are copyright J. Grant Brittain
























Gregory Crewdson – Americano

Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer who is best known for elaborately staged scenes of American homes and neighborhoods.

GregoryCrewdson_Headshot2He doesn’t just “take” his images, he creates them, through elaborate days and weeks of invention, design, and set-up. The epic production of these movie-like images is both intensely personal and highly public: they begin in Crewdson’s deepest desires and memories, but come to life on streets and soundstages in the hills towns of Western Massachusetts. In his decade-long project “Beneath the Roses” he uses light, color and character to conjure arresting images, managing a crew of 60 amidst seemingly countless logistical and creative obstacles.

Gregory Crewdson’s photographs usually take place in small town America, but are dramatic and cinematic. They feature often disturbing, surreal events. The photographs are shot using a large crew, and are elaborately staged and lit.  He has cited the films Vertigo, The Night of the Hunter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blue Velvet, and Safe as having influenced his style, as well as the painter Edward Hopper and photographer Diane Arbus.

The Movie:

GREGORY CREWDSON: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS follows acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson’s decade-long quest to create a series of haunting, surreal, and stunningly elaborate portraits of small-town American life — perfect renderings of a disturbing and imperfect world.

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters Trailer from Benjamin Shapiro on Vimeo.


Some of his inspiring images:





















Anton Corbijn

Anton Corbijn was born in 1955 in Strijen, Holland, the son of a Protestant minister. Corbijn began his career in Groningen, first using his father’s camera for photos in 1972 at an open-air concert of the pop group Solution on the Grote Markt (the central square in Groningen) and was hooked on photographing music immediately.

anton-corbijn-1024x768In 1974, he followed an eighteen-month course in photography at the intermediate technical college in The Hague, after which he worked as an assistant to Gijabert Hanekroot in Amsterdam. Stimulated by the prevailing punk attitude of the times, he decided to go independent in 1976, and was the chief photographer for the main Dutch pop-music magazine, OOR, for a considerable time.

In 1979, he moved to London to be closer to the music he liked (post punk, e.g. Joy Division, Magazine, PIL Ltd. etc.), working with the musical weekly New Musical Express. He associated with NME until 1985, meeting many of the people during this period that he has since become famous for photographing (U2, Depeche Mode, Captain Beefheart, etc.) For Anton, love of music became love of photography.

I don’t crop my images and I always shoot handheld. By doing that I build in a kind of imperfection and this helps to emphasize reality.

Complete generations have grown up with Corbijn’s pictures. Corbijn started making music-videos in 1983 and has concieved more than sixty videos and one hundred album covers with artists as diverse as Nirvana, Joni Mitchell, Front 242, Henry Rollins, Metallica, Naomi Campbell, Depeche Mode, Johnny Cash, U2, David Sylvian, Nick Cave etc.

The photographs of David Bowie, Miles Davis, and Captain Beefheart are known world-wide. He has been a major image-builder for U2 (due to his album covers for The Joshua Tree, Rattle&Hum, Achtung Baby, POP, for example, and also as a result of his video clips), and for Depeche Mode (with more than 15 video clips and 5 CD covers, and the designs for the stages for 2 world tours.)

After 1985, he’s still photographed people working in the arts, both for himself and for may magazines world-wide, including Rolling Stone, Elle, Esquire, W, and Stern; musicians, including CD-covers for U2, R.E.M., John Lee Hooker, Bryan Ferry, Rolling Stones, Nick Cave, and Depeche Mode; actors, special projects and has many exhibitions world-wide.

Corbijn is the most known portraitist of current artistic zone. He concentrates on portraits of celebrities almost from all artistic genres, shooting videoclips, walk-on videoprojections, and designing album covers. Besides Depeche Mode, his work includes portraits of Bruce Springsteen, Kate Moss, Steven Spielberg, Wim Wenders, Gerard Depardieu, Quentin Tarantino, William S. Burroughs, Dennis Hopper, Martin Scorsese, U2, David Bowie, Michael Stipe and hundreds of others.

I work using the Brian Eno school of thinking: limit your tools, focus on one thing and just make it work… You become very inventive with the restrictions you give yourself.

Corbijn also received two MTV awards for the Nirvana video of Heart-Shaped Box. In 1994, he made a short film, entitled ‘Some YOYO Stuff’ with Don van Viet, alias Captain Beefheart, for the BBC, and was the image-creator in the re-election campaign of Dutch Minister President Wim Kok in 1998, as well as doing his first advertising jobs for BMW and Tag Heuer.


A great interview with Anton:


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Seeing With Robert Frank’s Eyes

Photo by: Barry Kornbluh (
Photo by: Barry Kornbluh

Robert Frank (born November 9, 1924), born in Zürich, Switzerland, is an important figure in American photography and film. His most notable work, the 1958 photobook titled The Americans, was influential, and earned Frank comparisons to a modern-day de Tocqueville for his fresh and skeptical outsider’s view of American society. Frank later expanded into film and video and experimented with compositing and manipulating photographs.
“The Americans” was published in Paris. Robert Frank’s book of 83 black-and-white images, extracted from more than 28,000 individual shots taken on road trips between 1955 and 1957, did not reflect the apple-pie vistas of Eisenhower suburbia. The Swiss photographer took a novel, jaundiced view of the country, catching lonely, vagabond faces with unusual angles, jukeboxes alight in half-empty bars, lost highways, and short-order melancholy.
After the underground success of “The Americans” in the late ’50s, Mr. Frank began to concentrate on art films and videos, such as 1959’s beatnik reverie “Pull My Daisy.” He captured a society in flux, one making a jarring transition from contentment to discontentment, and he did so from uncommon perspectives. One oft-cited review deemed his work a “meaningless blur.” But as Jack Kerouac (who served as narrator on “Pull My Daisy”) wrote in his introduction to the Grove Press edition of “The Americans,” published in 1959, “Robert Frank. Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the great tragic poets of the world.”

What is most compelling about “The Americans” today is how what was once disturbing and revelatory gradually became iconic and even romantic: Looking back from the 21st century, these scenes are what come to mind when we think about what “America” is. This is not so much in a contemporary sense, as a lot of what fills Mr. Frank’s lens — the jukeboxes, the black-and-white televisions, the convertibles with their tail fins — looks like relics of an imaginary age. But maybe because of that, and because of so much chest-thumping campaign rhetoric about one candidate’s patriotism or another’s beer-and-a-shot authenticity, it’s an extremely useful book to look at right now. These photographs have never stopped resonating.


















The double photo of Robert Frank at the beginning of this post was taken by Barry Kornbluh (


This photo (below) I originally made a mistake on posting as Robert Frank’s. I love this image and the photographer that took it is a fellow Canadian: Rob Atkins.  Thanks Rob for the kind note and wicked photo!